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May 12, 2009 01:48pm

MORE than 50 new jobs will be created by a new contract for 160 new Adelaide Metro buses to be built locally, says the State Government.

The Transport Department has awarded the contract to Australian company Custom Coaches, which will build the buses at its Royal Park plant.

The $118 million deal will replace 120 buses from the existing fleet and provide another 40 extra buses over the next four years.

Manufacturing will begin this month and the first bus is expected to be completed in July.

Custom Coaches will build low-floor bus bodies and assemble seats, doors, windows, air conditioning and security cameras on to Swedish-made chassis assembled at Scania Australia’s Adelaide plant at Wingfield.

Premier Mike Rann said the deal was “a very good local jobs story”.

“Not only will this contract employ an additional 46 manufacturing staff and create five new apprenticeships … it will (also) deliver new state-of-the-art green buses to our network,” he said.

The diesel-powered buses will comply with the latest Euro 5 Plus Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle exhaust emissions standards, which do not come into effect in Australia until 2011.

Transport Minister Patrick Conlon said the buses would delivered far lower emissions than the current minimum enforced in Australia.

“Many of the buses in this new contract will be high capacity, articulated vehicles, which will run on the popular O-Bahn,” he said.

Custom Coaches chief executive Mark Burgess said the contract would have a flow-on effect for other local businesses.

“If we create 50 new jobs there will be about 150 jobs created out in the community – jobs supplying the parts we need to build buses … we’re shifting work from other states into South Australia,” he said.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25467849-2682,00.html

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